Sunday, February 17, 2008

2CV Stories

Many thanks to all who provided me with personal anecdotes about rides in a Deux Chevaux. Here are a few. One reader had a somewhat X-rated story which she declined to send to me in print.

In any case, I hope these jostle your memories and encourage more stories! I've just included author's first names, for editorial consistency.

Mac, below, also noted that "...until, I think it was 1975, each French family would receive a free 2CV from the government on the safe arrival of their fifth child! It was part of a re-population programme which aimed at replacing the devastating losses across rural France from the two world wars."

Cynthia's 2CV story
I was driving our 2CV where we should not have been driving. Up an unplowed, thickly snow-covered route in a vain attempt to reach a ski resort above the town of Delphi, Greece, which was no doubt closed because not even the road was plowed. Nor were there any tracks to ease our journey. We did our best, we two with a friendly hitchhiker in the rear seat. At some point, much farther than was sensible, we gave up. We were stuck facing uphill. But what to do?


We got out, picked up the car (1 female, 2 males), turned it around and gently set it down on our own tracks facing downhill. Off we went then, back to the local village, for lamb on the spit and delicious local wine to satisfy our disappointment in not reaching our destination.

I loved that car.....

Mac's 2CV story
In the seventies, whilst hitching through the Auvergne, I almost became engaged to a sheep in the back of the corrugated van version of the 2CV. I spent three months (well, six hours actually but it felt like I'd been born there ) in an intimate embrace with a ewe, rocking in her soiled straw, whilst my 'chauffeur' negotiated passes which would have given goats vertigo. When I was finally deposited I couldn't get a room or hostel anywhere, I was as high as a Roquefort boiled in tripe!

Geoff's 2CV story
Last year, a party of friends and I [all baby boomers!] who were having a convivial drink and watching the passing show outside a cafe in Bellac (near Limoges), and who had their three 2CVs parked on the pavement. We were amazed to see a white 2CV zip past with no less than FOUR nuns inside!

Jay's 2CV story
I have little education in conversational French -- two years in high school (you can imagine what that was worth), a half-year in college. So the first time I was in France, I was badly at a loss, though apparently that didn't stop me from hitchhiking. I don't remember how I got to Provence -- train probably -- but I was hitchhiking there, out on a not-much-travelled road in the countryside. A 2CV pulled up -- the first one I'd ever been that close to. The driver opened the passenger door. I got in, and he asked something that sounded like "Ooshka tuva?" I had no idea what he'd said. I repeated it in my head a couple of times, asked him to repeat it. I guess he realized how hopeless I was, because he finally repeated it slowly, syllable by syllable: "Ou est-ce que tu va?" I don't remember where I was going or where he let me off. The only other thing I remember from that ride is that he shifted gears by reaching into what should have been the glove compartment.

Anna's 2CV story
My now husband bought a 2CV in the mid-1980s. It was white and grey and fabulous and we travelled all over England in it. And my sister-in-law bought one too (red). We never ever knew that they would be going out of production --and we sold ours! And so did my sister-in-law. If we'd known we'd have bought several more! Such fun to drive. And capable of quite a high speed, too. I loved the gear stick that came out of the dashboard. And the floppy windows and the rain coming in through the poorly sealed windows and windscreen. Great on petrol consumption too. Why did they stop making them?

Autolycus's 2CV story
In 1965 I had an extended stay in France, which included staying with a family that had both a 2CV and a DS. To go from the experience of being asked to operate the windscreen wipers manually (with a little handle on the inside) to finding oneself slowly elevated to grandeur as the DS's suspension set itself in motion.....

I felt rather as though I was Fernandel turning into Le Grand Charles himself.

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